Parades of Color

Grazing my fingertips across the underside of the desk, my finger ceases its movement when it comes upon an unwelcome barrier. I have recently retired my pencil so that it lays in rest beside my completed test sheet, and in an instance of boredom and lack of silent activities to take part in while others in the class finish their tests, my hands decided to explore the underside of the desk in which I sit.

What I have discovered thus far are miniature craters where wood once was pressed into, flaking pieces of desk part, and protruding mounds of year-old gum that has lost its stick. Perhaps this is merely an issue with the desk that I sit at; but, I have discovered deteriorating school property before and I know that it is a prominent and growing issue. From the slightly dilapidated school buildings that have been smeared with “Band-Aid” attempts to cover areas of extreme grief, to the fields of brittle brown that once were vivid green; our schools are pleading for our help, and it is no longer a race of who aids them first. The current question is if anyone will aid the schools at all. Conceivably this generation of teens and children are exposed to an abundance of advertisements featuring cosmetically altered faces, richly evident colors that radiate a Baz Luhrmann tone of graphics, and products crafted of utter ignorance that should be far from purchased; however, in cases where schools are in dire need of funding, then schools must turn towards the option of buying into advertisements. Corporate advertisements should take place in schools under circumstances where a lack of funding is incontrovertible, but ads should not be overused nor overplayed to an extent of excess.

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Schools receive sums of money, sponsorship, and products when they allow corporate companies to pay for advertising on their campuses. In return, these companies gain potential customers from placing ads where students dwell for the majority of the week. A possible argument from those who do not support corporate ads on school grounds could be that repairs and advancements are unnecessary in public school districts; however, many of us students would present quality evidence of deteriorating school property and lack of facilities in dire need of repair to rebut their argument. Corporate ads could be looked upon as a sort of saving grace for public schools. Once money is brought in, then this allows for greater maintenance to occur on school buildings and facilities. After repairs are made, then an enriched learning environment is created that fosters minimal distractions.

The desk that once factored a deteriorating underside is no longer cause for disgust to a student during a test. Striding into a vast cafeteria brimming with teenage drama, lack of deodorant used, and obnoxious children who believe themselves to be adults, a student is not distracted by a subtle poster for PowerAde strung up behind a cluster of lunch tables. Students are not distracted in high school by advertisements; students are distracted by high school from the world outside of it. As Gatorade bottles patiently wait inside a nearby vending machine, and the enlarged face of Steven Gerrard (with beads of sweat clinging to his cheeks) is found on a poster plastered behind the counter where food is served; a student is hardly distracted by these images. In fact, the student may be even inspired by the motivational posters. Some may argue that adding more advertisements to a schooling environment would result in an increased number of distractions; however, children of the 21st century have adapted to the constant parade of commercials marching across their television sets.

They have grown accustomed to posters for energy drinks, which in fact may be cause for athletic motivation when well-known athletes are featured sipping Gatorade. As a student, I am most definitely motivated athletically when witnessing a glimpse of Mia Hamm near the locker room prior to an hour of physical education. Distractions are apart of high school and apart of the public school environment. By increasing the amount of advertisements allowed in schools this allows for greater motivation while simultaneously financially benefiting school facilities, which outweighs any possible negative outcome of distractions from ads in schools. Amidst the many benefits brought on by corporate advertisements, there are limits that should be met and respected. Ads should not be implemented by the schools for the sole purpose of increasing revenue, but should be purchased so that the extra money earned can be put towards cultivating school property.

There should be a line drawn at a certain point when schools venture into a vast grey area, specifically Channel One. Receiving money to force students to watch the program, some schools require students to watch a news program that features abundant advertising called Channel One. The blunt enforcement of children to view a program crawling with advertisements from a corporate sponsor is borderline criminal and should not be allowed in schools. Besides Channel One, the benefits of having advertisements from corporate companies in schools outweigh that of the negative consequences, which are meager to none. Those who are completely opposed to ads in schools may argue that schools are expected to be the one safe place for children to dwell that is out of the “corporate ad zone”.

Perhaps this has been true in the past, but we must weigh the benefits and pitfalls of both sides, and keep hold of the thought that not only are we in the midst of a recession and in need of money but we are also not effecting the students negatively if these ads are implemented into schools. Parades of color painted across the forefront of corporate ads, whether in the form of posters, commercials, or elaborately decorated sports drinks; surround us all. Living in a century where innovation, power, and money seem to dominate all things else, we must be able to harness change, yet simultaneously be able to take advantage of its benefits.